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WHAT IS THE MATTER?
The Master Mason - May 1927
On all sides it is asked, What is the matter with Masonry? The answer is, Nothing. It is not Masonry that is at fault; it is the same gracious, wise and benign spirit and art that it has always been. The matter is with Masons who slur their vows, hold their obligations lightly, and do not take the Craft seriously.
Often enough, to be sure, the question is asked by those who do not know what they want, and who do not know why they want it, or how they are going to get it. Usually they talk glibly of too much symbolism and not enough service, by which they seem to mean rushing Masonry into the service of some pet reform, or otherwise involving it in affairs in which it does not meddle.
Yet it has to be said that the spirit and truth of Masonry is not felt in our communities as it should be, remembering how strong the Craft is. But the same is said of Christianity, and with equal truth; it is far less fruitful than it should be, and would be if it had its way with men in the daily walks of life. Indeed, it is now the fad to snipe both the church and the lodge.
But neither Christianity nor Masonry can be administered like chloroform; each depends upon the seriousness and earnestness with which men take their teachings to heart, and put them to the service and test of life. The creed of the church, no less than the vow of the lodge, may be a matter of rote-nothing more. Or it may be marching orders, a challenge to adventure, a flag to follow.
To repeat, the matter is not with Masonry but with Masons, many of whom do not know what Masonry is, much less how to use it in the service of humanity. Until we can bestir our men to take Masonry seriously, study it, seeking to know its truth and obey its teaching in the everyday affairs of life, there will still be the wonder and regret that Masonry seems useless.
It is true, alas, that Masons, like church folk, lack cohesion in behalf of ends to which as individuals they are devoted. The politicians of Quebec put every stone they could find in the way of the proposed United Church of Canada, in the hope of defeating it, dreading a united Protestantism more than all else. Happily they failed, and must now reckon with a new and mighty force.
If, as might be done, the men of our Craft, and others like-minded, ever learn the art of standing and working together in behalf of the great ends and aims of the common good, things will be very different in this land, and much that goes ill now would be put to rights in the right way.
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Last modified: March 22, 2014